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Double Whammy

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New research done in the UK shows that giving breast cancer patients chemotherapy and radiation at the same time reduces the risk of tumor recurrence by about 35 percent, reports Bloomberg's Simeon Bennett. The trial, done by researchers at the University of Birmingham, involved almost 2,300 early-stage breast cancer patients — the women, who had already undergone surgery to remove tumors, received either chemotherapy followed by radiation, or the combination of the two known as synchronous chemoradiation. After five years, Bennett says, 5.1 percent of the women who had the sequential treatment had breast cancer recurrence, compared to 2.8 percent of the women who had the synchronous treatment. The researchers who did the study report that their findings "conflict with previous trials that failed to find a benefit and may change the way the tumor-fighting techniques are used," Bennett says. In addition, the researchers tell Bennett that the combined therapy may allow women to return to their lives more quickly. In addition, Bennett adds, the 500 women in the study who participated in a quality-of-life analysis indicated there was almost no difference between the two treatment approaches.

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